…But President Koroma appeals to citizens
March 21, 2017 By Alusine Sesay
President Koroma signing the voter register at the NIBATT 13 Goderich Community Primary School
While the chairperson of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), N’fa Alie Conteh, told journalists yesterday that there was a possibility for an extension of the timeline for the voter/civil registration should the targeted number of over three million voters were not captured, President Ernest Bai Koroma has called on all Sierra Leoneans to come out in their numbers and register, so as to prevent an extension of the timeline.
The process, according to observation, takes about 15 minutes to register a single individual and concerns are that it would be difficult for NEC to register over three million voters within 28 days.
But the chairperson of the commission noted that: “The law allows us to extend the time. Really as per law, we are supposed to register for 15 days but we are sending it to 28 days .As I just said, when we reach that stage, we would advise ourselves.”
After going through the process at the NIBATT 13 Goderich Community Primary School, President Koroma stated that: “I am now qualified to vote for my Councilor, Member of Parliament, District Council Chairman and my President come 2018.”
“Let me remind all Sierra Leoneans that the current registration is ongoing and it is not just about voting come 2018, it is it about giving you national identity that would last with you for the rest of your life. A number would be provided to you and the identity card that would be provided would have all your biometric details and this card would be used all over the country for any purpose. I hope that every sierra Leoneans, as for now, it is for those that would vote in the election, but the registration would go beyond the voter registration. I urge everybody that after this opportunity that has been given to you, that if you don’t have identity card, you will not be qualified to open a bank account, to be a nurse or even a military officer. It is a matter of must that you should be registered.”
The registration process would last for about a month, from March 20 to April 16,2017 and the NEC chairperson said they have projected to register over three million (3,000,000),having established 3,300 registration centres country wide.
Meanwhile, issues of insufficient and late arrival of registration materials were reported at some centres, particularly in the provinces, but the chairperson assured that they would handle them within the shortest possible time.
He said the commission has enough registration materials and would increase the quantity to any centre that reports of insufficiency.